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The Machine Stops

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The Machine Stops


Published April 25, 2009


LibriVox recording of The Machine Stops, by E.M. Forster. Read by Jerome Lawsen.

Published in 1909, this science fiction short story takes place in a future where mankind, seemingly no longer able to survive on earth's surface, exists in a vast underground civilization known as "The Machine". Each individual lives in an isolated, fully-automated cell-like room, connected to global information and communication systems, but cut off from all direct experience. The narrative focuses on Vashti, an "advanced" mother whose total dependence upon The Machine has led her (like most others) to increasingly reverence and even worship it; and her "untechnological" son, Kuno, who has begun to deny The Machine's omnipotence and even seeks to escape if possible. Kuno's radical views are validated as the The Machine's systems begin to malfunction and eventually fail completely.

The story has proved to be far ahead of its time, with remarkably accurate predictions of modern technologies, and paints a chilling picture of over-dependence on them. This recording marks the 100th anniversary of the original publishing. (Summary by Jerome Lawsen)

For further information, including links to online text, reader information, RSS feeds, CD cover or other formats (if available), please go to the LibriVox catalog page for this recording.

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Download M4B (36MB)


Source Librivox recording of a public-domain text
Run time 1:18:23

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Reviews

Reviewer: mikezane - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 11, 2010
Subject: Interesting story
Humans have become dependent on technology and have given themselves completely to it. What happens when that technology ceases to function?

Thought provoking and sad, I had to listen to a humorous story after this one, but it was still good. Reader is excellent.
Reviewer: Granita To Go - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 6, 2010
Subject: Is this my life?
In the beginning there is a little (maybe at the most 5 feet tall) lady sitting in front of a machine (computer). She is pale and hardly ever communicates with anyone outside her cell.
!!!
I enjoyed hearing this story very much. The read is 5 star!
Reviewer: notmyname - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 1, 2010
Subject: Interesting story, good recording
An odd little cautionary tale about a mechanized world where everyone is constantly in communication, but no one ever talks face to face or uses their bodies. In a way it feels like it could have been written yesterday by a cranky technophobe. I found it a little slow and occasionally preachy, but a few bits of biting satire made up for that. Well read, with good sound quality.
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